<![CDATA[NBC 7 San Diego - Top Stories]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/top-stories http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/KNSD+RSS+Feed+logo+blue.png NBC 7 San Diego http://www.nbcsandiego.com en-us Fri, 24 Oct 2014 06:31:02 -0700 Fri, 24 Oct 2014 06:31:02 -0700 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Motorcycle Lane Splitting Is Relatively Safe: Study ]]> Thu, 23 Oct 2014 19:38:33 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/motorcycle4.jpg

The controversial act of lane splitting – when a motorcycle rides between cars in freeway traffic – is safer than many think, a new study finds.

The seemingly risky move of weaving between lanes is against the law in every single state except California, to the ire of some drivers and the delight of motorcyclists.

"Those guys out there and girls out there occasionally splitting lanes are just looking for a disaster as far as I'm concerned,” one driver frankly said.

A state-commissioned UC Berkeley study looked at thousands of accident reports and found lane splitting is no more dangerous than riding a motorcycle in a marked lane.

But if a rider is traveling 10 miles per hour faster than traffic, the risk of a crash goes up.

New York Myke, owner of San Diego Harley-Davidson, hopes the study will ease public frustration over lane splitters.

He told NBC 7 he doesn’t like to see people rushing between cars going 60 or 70 mph because that gives all motorcyclists a bad name.

"We don't like to do it, but I’d rather do that than sit in traffic and take the chance some car five cars back hits the car in front of him or her and we eventually get tagged and knocked off or hurt,” said Myke.

The UC Berkeley study actually found lane splitters are less likely rear-ended but are more likely to rear-end others. The data also showed early morning and late afternoon rush hours are the times when lane splitters have a higher chance of getting into an accident.

Still, some think the maneuver is a bad idea because other drivers cannot be trusted.

“People are distracted, people are doing ten things when in the cars aside from focusing on the traffic around them,” said one woman who spoke with NBC 7.

Myke agreed, arguing UC Berkeley should do a study on texting and driving because “that’s the real killer.”

The study’s data will be shared with the California Highway Patrol, which this year began working on guidelines for lane-splitting. A more in-depth study of the practice is also in the works.

<![CDATA[Driver Hits Woman, Child in Wheelchair]]> Thu, 23 Oct 2014 21:09:08 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/SDPD-generic-cars-0226.jpg

A driver running a red light hit a wheelchair carrying a woman and a girl, sending the child to the hospital Thursday evening, San Diego Police say.

The woman in wheelchair was holding an 8-year-old girl in her lap as she crossed 5400 Imperial Avenue at 54th Street in Valencia Park.

Police say the woman had a green light, but an 82-year-old female driver ran her red light and struck the wheelchair.

Falling to the ground, the girl hit her head and fractured her skull. She was taken to the hospital. The woman in the wheelchair complained of minor knee pain.

The SDPD traffic division is investigating this crash.

Check back here for details on this developing story.

<![CDATA[Is Photo Math App Bad News for Teachers? ]]> Thu, 23 Oct 2014 21:30:30 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/photo+math+app.JPG

An app called Photo Math boasts the ability to solve math problems with the click of a smartphone camera, prompting a new round of an old debate: how much should students use technology in the classroom?

With the app, users can simply hold their phone over a question and wait a few seconds as it makes the calculations. It then produces the answer and shows the steps to get there.

Photo Math offers help for those stuck on a particularly hard question, but it also presents an easy way to cheat.

One educator likened it to the issue of whether to let students use a calculator solve problems.

“When I first heard about (the app), I thought, ‘Oh my goodness.’ And then I thought, it’s always kind of been there, it’s just quicker and easier because of the speed of the internet,” said Dr. Jeffrey Theil, who works with staff and parents on Common Core standards for the Chula Vista Elementary School District.

He told NBC 7 with Common Core, students are asked to show their answers in multiple ways, so one would have to know how to ask the question to get an answer on the internet.

Siri, the virtual voice-controlled assistant on Apple products, can also be used at a math tool but was better with the simple questions, while Photo Math listed all the steps.

However, on Thursday, students in class were asked to do the problems in their heads by rearranging fractions.

While the app could crunch the numbers, it could not understand the intent of the questions, and the intent is what matters.

If students use it as a tool to help them with homework and not a short cut to get the answer, more access and quicker access can be a good thing.

“That number sense and fluency is really important,” said Theil, “and I don’t think you can get that through an app or googling that or whatever because we’re challenging your mind and what your mind can do mathematically.”

If the technology isn’t there yet to interpret the intent and multiple demands of the Common Core math curriculum, it will be.

And just like in the old days when we could look at the back of the textbook for answers, students need to be taught if they only use the internet as a short cut, they’re only cheating themselves.

Student Alexa Zumstein appreciates that concept, telling NBC 7 she likes doing equations mentally.

“Not only does it help me practice doing it in my head, it just feels a sense of accomplishment, like I just did 237 times 26 on my own and I got it right and I feel good,” she said.

<![CDATA[Suspects ID'd in Teen's Brutal Murder 30 Years Ago]]> Thu, 23 Oct 2014 21:03:53 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/claire-hough-murder-1984_5.jpg

Thirty years after a teenager’s body was found on the sand at Torrey Pines State Beach, San Diego homicide investigators say they have identified two suspects in her killing, one of whom was a San Diego Police criminalist.

Claire Hough, 14, was the victim of a brutal murder on Friday, Aug. 24, 1984.

The teenager had been staying with her grandparents who lived near the beach.

When she was found by police officers, she had been beaten, strangled and stabbed, and one of her breasts had been severed.

Using DNA evidence collected at the scene, homicide investigators were able to identity two potential suspects in her murder in November 2012.

Detectives say they spent the following two years putting together a case for prosecution. They were preparing to make an arrest when on Tuesday, Oct. 21, Kevin Charles Brown was found dead at Cuyamaca State Park on Highway 79.

Brown, 62, worked as a criminalist for the San Diego Police Laboratory from 1982 to April 2002.

Homicide investigators say they do not believe Brown had any association with the murder investigation or the process of evidence.

His death has initially been ruled a suicide.

The second suspect, Ronald Clyde Tatro, died in a boating accident in 2011. Tatro was 40 years old at the time of the killing.

According to homicide investigators the two men were identified as suspects in the case through DNA analysis.

Anyone with information related to this incident is encouraged to call the San Diego Police Department’s Homicide Unit or Crime Stoppers at 888-580-8477.


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<![CDATA[Rally Against Domestic Violence Honors Slain Cop, Victims]]> Thu, 23 Oct 2014 20:07:03 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/domestic+violence+rally+1023.JPG

Dozens of people called for an end to domestic violence in Escondido Thursday, even as the city's police department heals after the loss of one of their own due to a suspected domestic incident.

Rookie Escondido Police Officer Laura Perez was on the mind of many who marched along the two-mile route, with her 4-year-old daughter at the head of the pack.

Perez was found shot to death in a Moreno Valley storage locker in July, her husband Freddy Perez-Rodas arrested as the lead suspect. He has since been charged with murder.

The death of the 25-year-old cop hit the department hard, and on Thursday, her brothers in blue told NBC 7 they think of her often.

“We are not used to being the ones that are a part of being the victims, and it hit us hard in several different ways,” said EPD Cpt. Mike Loarie. “I mean, we count the days — 91 days, 22 1/2 hours ago — (since) this nightmare started for us.”

Perez’s death is a testament to the unfortunate fact domestic violence can happen to anyone, police say.

According to the San Diego Domestic Violence Council, 17,000 domestic violence incidents were reported in San Diego County in 2013. Nine of them were fatal.

In Escondido alone, reported incidents rose 4 percent between 2012 and 2013.

“It’s the trauma that’s something like a ghost that follows them until one day, it’s hard to function,” said domestic violence survivor Christine.

She told NBC 7 her seven children were seven reasons why she suffered through 21 years of abuse. Though it may be hard, she and others say it is vital to speak up and get help because domestic violence doesn’t just impact the victim.

“This affected Laura’s family and police family,” Loarie said.

Officers unveiled a memorial stone in front of the Escondido Police Department to remember Perez and other victims of domestic violence. A tree was also planted in the slain officer's honor.

<![CDATA[New Outlet Stores Open at San Ysidro Border]]> Thu, 23 Oct 2014 18:34:05 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/San-ysidro-Outlets-Border.jpg

Lines of customers wrapped outside new stores like H&M and Armani as part of the grand opening of a new outlets center along the U.S.- Mexico border south of San Diego.

The Outlets at the Border faces a new pedestrian bridge under construction at the San Ysidro Port of Entry, what is considered the busiest border crossing in the world.

Once the pedestrian bridge opens in 2016, Rachel Castro, General Manager of Agaci hopes it will help the store triple its projected sales and gain more exposure for its brand.

"We're hoping to see the most foot traffic we've ever seen in our company," she said.

Mike Binkle, owner of The Shamrock Group Real Estate Development Firm, said designers used some of the land for a new transportation hub.

"We'll be having buses and taxis and private vehicles here coming to pick folks up here and drop off," Binkle said.

A new H&M location is among the stores opening this weekend. Other stores include AX (Armani Exchange), Rack Room Shoes,O'Neill, Nixon and Justice, among others.

Shoppers can enjoy samples, sales, music and other entertainment Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[Girl Found Dead at Shelter: Cops]]> Fri, 24 Oct 2014 04:55:19 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/215*120/Generic+Police+Tape+Generic.JPG

A 4-year-old girl was found dead at a Queens homeless shelter and authorities are classifying her death as "suspicious," police say.

Police found the child, identified as Linayjah Meraldo, after responding to a call at the Briarwood Family Residence, a temporary housing shelter for homeless families on 134th Street, on Thursday. The little girl's four siblings were in school when she was found; the child's mother said she kept the girl home because she wasn't feeling well, according to a source familiar with the case.

There were no other adults living in the unit where the mother and children were staying.

The mother initially told police Meraldo was involved in a physical altercation with a sibling -- "a tousling thing," she called it, according to the source. The source said the mother later said the child had fallen, and that the version of events she told investigators kept changing.

The little girl was last seen in the 100-unit shelter Thursday morning, the source said. The child was active and nobody noticed bruises or other injuries, according to the source.

The family has lived at Briarwood for nearly a year.

The Department of Health and Human Services called Meraldo's death "terribly disturbing." The agency said in a statement it was working closely with police.

The child's death comes less than a week after a 3-year-old girl was found dead in a homeless shelter in Brooklyn. The medical examiner ruled her death a homicide, saying the girl died from blunt impact to her head and torso. Her 20-year-old stepfather was arrested on a murder charge.

After the Brooklyn girl's death, Mayor de Blasio called for a thorough investigation. 

Photo Credit: NBC10.com]]>
<![CDATA[Man Fires 28 Times on Neighborhood]]> Thu, 23 Oct 2014 23:42:56 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/225*120/Assault+Rifle+Alton+Street+Shooting.JPG

A Northeast Philadelphia man fired an assault rifle at his neighbor more than two dozen times after an argument spiraled out of control Thursday night.

"The shooter fired multiple shots, unloaded his magazine, then reloaded the weapon," said Philadelphia Police Chief Inspector Scott Small.

Not only was the 57-year-old neighbor hit multiple times but bullets -- police said at least 28 were fired -- also hit neighboring homes along the 8900 block Alton Street in the Bustleton section of the city.

Medics rushed a 57-year-old man from the scene to Einstein Medical Center in critical condition, according to Philadelphia Police.

"This victim stated who he was shot by," said Small.

Investigators said the incident began as an argument between the older man and a 26-year-old suspect around 7:30 p.m. in the rear driveway of the homes. At some point the suspect grabbed an assault rifle and began firing, police said.

At least 20 bullets hit two neighboring homes, said police. Officers checked on the residents inside and luckily no one was hit.

Police arrested the unidentified shooting suspect without incident and confiscated the rifle, said Small.

Photo Credit: NBC10.com]]>
<![CDATA[Student Hospitalized With Meningococcal Bacteria]]> Thu, 23 Oct 2014 22:02:43 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/palomar-college-1023.jpg

A new case of a college student hospitalized with meningococcal bacteria was reported Thursday in San Diego County.

The San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) reports the patient is a student at Palomar College.

The county did not disclose which hospital was treating the individual, but they say the student is improving.

The unidentified student was diagnosed on October 19. Test results expected back in several days should identify the strain of meningitis.

The student has attended only one class in the past three weeks so there are no close contacts at the college, county officials said.

“The risk to individuals who have not had close contact with the infected individual is very low,” Dean Sidelinger, M.D., M.S.Ed., said in a county news report.

HHSA has already notified those people who they believe should take antibiotics to prevent any possible infection.

This case is not believed to be connected to the recent meningococcal case that led to the death of San Diego State University freshman Sara Stelzer.

Stelzer was removed from life support over the weekend after contracting the rare Type B meningococcal meningitis.

Nearly 1,000 SDSU students were evaluated for risk of exposure. Some were given preventive antibiotics according to health officials.

However, officials are trying to determine if the Palomar student has the same strain of meningococcal bacterium as Stelzer's.

"Because if we identify two meningococcal Type B in a small community, we can consider asking for experimental use of the meningococcal Type B disease that’s not available in the United States," said Sidelinger.

To get the experimental vaccine MenB, used in Europe and Canada, there must be two or more cases identified to one organizational unit, like a college campus, and the cases must be within the last six months.

The vaccine has not been licensed by the Food and Drug Administration, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention did allow it to be used in meningitis outbreaks at Princeton and UC Santa Barbara.

There have been seven cases of meningococcal disease in San Diego County this year. Last year, there were 16 cases reported.

Symptoms of infection by meningococcal bacteria may include fever, intense headache, lethargy, stiff neck, and a rash that does not blanch under pressure, officials said.

If not treated, the bacteria can lead to meningitis, an inflammation of the membranes around the spinal cord and brain.

The germs are easily spread by those in close contact through sharing drinks or water bottles, cigarettes or through more intimate activity like kissing.

Parents should consult their primary care physician for information on a vaccine that is available to prevent certain strains of meningococcal disease. It's routinely recommended for children and adolescents 11 to 18 years of age.

Click here to find out more information about vaccine-preventable diseases.

Check back for updates on this developing story.

Photo Credit: Artie Ojeda NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[Rare Trees Killed by Drought to Be Reused]]> Thu, 23 Oct 2014 16:27:10 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/rare-trees-drought-botanic.jpg

Rare trees, that have fallen victim to the California drought, were cut down in Campo to be reused in an artistic way at the San Diego Botanic Garden.

Workers used a crane to remove seven rare Catalpa trees along Dehesa Road Thursday. The largest was 40-feet tall.

Catalpa trees, especially those as tall as the ones that have grown along Dehesa Road, are very uncommon in San Diego County. Unfortunately, the lack of rain took its toll.

But instead of putting the diseased trees into the wood chipper, the San Diego Botanic Garden plan to use them for planter chandeliers.

The large trees, pruned to just trunk and large limbs, were shipped via flatbed truck to the garden's location in Encinitas where they will be placed in storage.

The crew of eight people worked for a day and a half on the project, according to Julian Duval, CEO of the San Diego Botanic Garden.

"It will not be cheap," Duval said of the cost. The SDBG was going to import trees from Indiana which would have been far more expensive.

"It was truly amazing that we found these trees locally," he said. "We get to give them new life."

The trees were planted back in the 1950s and the owner had planned on turning them into fire wood.

"We are just so thankful that we got to them before he did," Duval said.

The plan is to use the trees as a base for living chandeliers featuring epiphytic plants like orchids, bromeliads or philodendrons.

The chandeliers would be raised and lowered depending on the event at the proposed Dickinson Family Education Pavilion.

The garden is currently raising funds to build the 9,300 sq. ft. facility that will include a main hall to accommodate up to 400 guests as well as an outdoor amphitheater with stage and lighting.

Learn more about the project here.

Photo Credit: San Diego Botanic Garden]]>
<![CDATA[Partial Solar Eclipse Darkens Skies]]> Thu, 23 Oct 2014 18:00:49 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/eclipse+photo+monitor.jpg

If the normally bright and sunny San Diego sky looks a little darker this afternoon, it isn’t because of clouds.

A partial solar eclipse could be seen in the area until about 4:42 p.m. Thursday.

The eclipse occurs as the path of the moon begins to cross in front of the sun. Less than half of the sun was covered from our viewpoint here, but the quality of light was noticeably different.

Experts warn that you should not look directly at the sun during the eclipse, as it could cause permanent damage to your eyes.

So viewers at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center got creative, using a pinhole in a sheet of paper, a strainer or special tinted glasses to look at the eclipse.

A crowd, mixed with families, children astronomy clubs and photographers, gathered at the museum, including eighth grader Jarrett Morgan who came after school with his mother.

"I'm thinking about space and how the moon is in front of the sun. It's amazing. It's a really amazing experience," said Morgan.

Astronomers say a partial eclipse happens every few years, and the next full eclipse is due in 2017.

<![CDATA[Who Is Craig Spencer, 1st New York Ebola Patient?]]> Fri, 24 Oct 2014 05:30:40 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/craig-spencer.jpg

New York City doctor Craig Spencer is the fourth person to be diagnosed with Ebola in the United States and the first in New York. He recently came back from treating Ebola patients in West Africa, and preliminarily tested positive for the Ebola virus at Bellevue Hospital on Thursday, Oct. 23.

Spencer is the fifth U.S. aid worker to contract the virus while working in West Africa. Dr. Kent Brantly, who recovered from Ebola earlier this year, issued a statement saying he is "grieved to hear about another health care worker contracting Ebola in West Africa.

"My prayers are with Dr. Spencer, his family and the crew taking care of him, he said in a statement released to NBC's "Today." "From everything I've read and heard about his circumstances, it sounds like New York has done everything right to contain this case."

Here's what we know so far about Spencer, his background, what he has done since coming back to the U.S. and the people with whom he may have come into contact.

Who is Craig Spencer?

Spencer, 33, is an emergency room doctor at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital's Columbia Medical Center campus in Upper Manhattan. He is a Detroit native who went to Wayne State University there and has family in that area.

He was volunteering with Doctors Without Borders in Guinea, one of the three West African nations experiencing an Ebola epidemic. He hasn't returned to work at NewYork-Presbyterian since returning to the U.S., the hospital said in a statement.

Spencer "went to an area of medical crisis to help a desperately underserved population," the hospital said in a statement. "He is a committed and responsible physician who always put his patients first."

Spencer also attended Columbia's University Mailman School of Public Health.

"Off to Guinea with Doctors Without Borders,'' he reportedly posted on Facebook on Sept. 18  along with a photo showing him dressed in protective gear. "Please support organizations that are sending support or personnel to West Africa, and help combat one of the worst public health and humanitarian disasters in recent history.''

Spencer left for West Africa via Brussels in mid-September, according to the Facebook page. He completed his assignment in Africa on Oct. 12 and left on Oct. 14 via Europe. He arrived in the U.S. on Oct. 17 at John F. Kennedy International Airport.

When Did Spencer Test Positive for Ebola?

Spencer participated in the enhanced screening at JFK for all travelers returning from the West African nations affected by Ebola. He did not have fever or other Ebola symptoms.

While back in New York, Spencer checked his temperature twice daily, Mary Travis Bassett, New York City’s health commissioner said Thursday evening during a media briefing. He began feeling sluggish on Oct. 21, but did not have any symptoms at that time. He felt well enough to go on a three-mile jog this week.

On Thursday morning, between 10 and 11 a.m. ET, Spencer reported coming down with a 100.3-degree fever and diarrhea and called 911, New York's Department of Health said. Officials corrected the number Friday morning after having first said his temperature was 103 degrees.

He was transported from his Hamilton Heights apartment at West 147th Street to Bellevue, one of eight New York state hospital designated to treat Ebola patients, by a specially trained HAZ TAC unit wearing personal protective equipment (PPE). Spencer was placed in a special isolation unit at the hospital where he's being cared for by the predesignated medical critical care team.

Doctors Without Borders said it was notified about Spencer's fever Thursday morning and immediately notified New York City health officials.

A blood sample was sent to the New York City Health Department laboratory, which is part of the Laboratory Response Network overseen by the CDC, for preliminary testing, and tested positive for Ebola. Confirmation testing will be done Friday at CDC headquarters in Atlanta.

What Did Spencer Do Since Returning From Africa? 

Bassett said Spencer spent most of his time in his apartment, limiting his contact with people, but he had gone on a three-mile jog, taken the A, 1 and L subway trains and visited the High Line elevated park in Manhattan.

He also took an Uber livery car to The Gutter bowling alley in Brooklyn Wednesday night, where he met some friends and bowled.

"At the time he was at the bowling alley, he had no fever," Bassett stressed.

Who May Have Been Affected?

Health officials have been tracing Spencer's contacts to identify anyone who may be at risk. Bassett said officials were aware of four people who came in contact with Spencer: his fiancee, two friends, and the Uber driver.

The fiancee and friends who have been in direct contact with Spencer have been quarantined and are in good health, she said. They weren't yet being tested for Ebola because they were showing no symptoms, she said.

The Uber driver was determined not to be at risk because he had no direct physical contact with Spencer.

“Our understanding is that very few people were in direct contact with him," Mayor de Blasio said Thursday.

What Happens Next?

Spencer's apartment was cordoned off and the Department of Health was giving out information to area residents Thursday night. The bowling alley has been closed as a precaution, and will be examined Friday.

The Gutter said in a Facebook post Thursday that it had talked with health department officials, who determined that other bowlers weren't at risk for contracting the disease.

Officials have Spencer's MetroCard to track where he's traveled. They said there's a "close to nil" chance anyone was exposed on the subway.

"There is no reason for New Yorkers to be alarmed," de Blasio said. "We've been preparing for months for the threat of Ebola with clear and strong protocols that were scrupulously followed in this instance."

A specially trained team determined earlier this week that Bellevue Hospital has been trained in proper protocols and is well prepared to handle Ebola patients, the CDC said.

Several members of the CDC's rapid response team were on their way to New York on Thursday night, and others were set to arrive Friday morning, a federal official told NBC News.

President Obama spoke Thursday night to de Blasio and Gov. Cuomo and offered the federal government's support, The Associated Press reported. He asked them to stay in close touch with Ron Klain, his "Ebola czar," as well as public health officials in Washington.

<![CDATA[Locally Grown Foods Come to SD School Cafeterias]]> Thu, 23 Oct 2014 19:56:21 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/california+thursdays+fresh+food+school+cafeteria.JPG A experimental food approach kicked off on Oct. 23, 2014, as 27 schools in the San Diego Unified School District as students are served fresh, local food once a week. NBC 7's Bridget Naso has more on "California Thursdays." ]]> <![CDATA[Coast Guard Rescues Man Off Point Loma]]> Thu, 23 Oct 2014 14:05:44 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/coast+guard+logo+pl.jpg

A man experiencing symptoms of a possible heart attack was medically evacuated by a Coast Guard Sector San Diego air crew off the coast of Point Loma early this morning.

The 63-year-old was aboard the San Diego-based sport fishing vessel Royal Polaris about 170 miles of Point Loma when the master of the 103-foot boat called for help around 1:30 a.m.

The crew took him in an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter, landing in San Diego just after 6:30 a.m., where emergency personnel was waiting. There is no word as to the current condition of the man.

"These are the kinds of missions our crews really enjoy," said Lt. Cmdr. Jon Bartel. "We love helping people, and that's exactly what we got to do this morning."

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Man, Estranged Wife Arrested in Child Porn Probe]]> Thu, 23 Oct 2014 14:42:27 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Jonathan-Gastelum-Jennifer-.jpg

A Skyline man is facing child pornography charges and his estranged wife is accused of child endangerment after an FBI investigation led them to find disturbing images of two young female victims.

Jonathan Gastelum is accused of sharing child porn images with two different law enforcement officers during online chat room visits.

The images allegedly depicted a female toddler and a prepubescent female, FBI agents said.

Gastelum was arrested Tuesday after federal officials executed a search warrant at a granny flat behind the home on Skyline Drive. He faces distribution of child pornography charges.

In one of the sessions on Sept. 16, a user identified as "4yodau" shared a Kik user account with the investigators in order to share four images, according to court documents. 

The Kik user asked the investigators, "Do u have children or toddlers in pain? Movies."

Officials allege the IP address connected to the chat room user was tied to Gastelum. In court documents, investigators claim Gastelum admitted to sharing the images through a Kik account.

Jennifer Gastelum, Jonathan's estranged wife, was also arrested Tuesday. San Diego Police took her into custody and transferred her to the Las Colinas Detention Facility. She’s accused of child endangerment and assault charges, officials said.

A neighbor who identified herself as Kim told NBC 7 the couple had two young daughters under the age of seven.

“I’m mad, I’m disgusted, I’m angry,” the neighbor said.

She claims Jennifer Gastelum moved out of the home three months ago and started the divorce process.

The neighbor also told NBC 7 that Jennifer Gastelum would babysit her two sons from time to time.

Jennifer Gastelum is scheduled for arraignment on state charges Friday.

<![CDATA[Company Paid Workers $1.21 An Hour]]> Thu, 23 Oct 2014 11:47:49 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/1022-2014-EFI.jpg

A Bay Area tech company has been slapped with a fine and ordered to pay thousands of dollars in back wages after a United States Department of Labor investigation revealed the company paid workers $1.21 an hour.

The Labor Department said about eight employees of Fremont-based Electronics For Imaging were flown in from India and worked 120-hour weeks to help with the installation of computers at the company's headquarters. The employees were paid their regular hourly wage in Indian rupees, which translated to $1.21.

EFI, which posted third-quarter revenue of nearly $200 million, released the following statement on Thursday: "During this process we unintentionally overlooked laws that require even foreign employees to be paid based on local US standards."

Last year, another company, Bloom Energy in Sunnyvale, faced similar charges and was fined for underpaying employees from Mexico an hourly wage of $2.66.

Federal officials said both cases are particularly egregious, given the booming labor market and the wealth in Silicon Valley.

"It is certainly outrageous and unacceptable for employers here in Silicon Valley to bring workers and pay less than the minimum wage," said Alberto Raymond, an assistant district director for the United States Department of Labor.

EFI has been ordered to pay $40,000 in back wages to the employees. In addition, the company was hit with a $3,500 fine.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[City Orders Closure of Four Marijuana Dispensaries]]> Thu, 23 Oct 2014 10:47:49 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/marijuana15.jpg

The City Attorney’s office obtained court orders to shut down four marijuana dispensaries it says are illegally in business this week. They are located in the Mission Valley, Mount Hope and Pacific Beach neighborhoods.

The actions are part of a concentrated effort to shut down more than 200 shops operating without permits since 2010.

City Attorney Jan Goldsmith said the illegal dispensaries are a threat to neighborhood safety.

"Marijuana dispensaries, like any other business, must obtain proper permits and conform to zoning regulations,” he said. “There is now a process for legally zoned dispensaries and that process should be followed."

The four dispensaries closed this week:

Planet Greens, 936 Garnet Avenue in Pacific Beach

Dank on Turquoise, 841 Turquoise Street in Pacific Beach

Market Greens, 4255 Market Street in Mount Hope

Kindest Meds, 3455 Camino del Rio South in Mission Valley

The process of closing a dispensary begins with the city obtaining temporary a restraining order against the dispensary, which then has 24 hours to close.

"We've had success at shutting down illegal dispensaries using the swiftest and most effective due process available through the courts," Goldsmith said. "Our lawyers have achieved a nearly 100 percent success rate in cases referred to us for prosecution."

Photo Credit: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Ebola Patient's Fiancée Unable to Find New Home]]> Thu, 23 Oct 2014 11:43:55 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Troh+family+apartment+Dallas.jpg

The fiancée of Thomas Eric Duncan, the first patient diagnosed with Ebola in the United States, has been unable to find a new home in Dallas, even though she was released from monitoring on Monday after showing no signs of the virus.

Louise Troh, her son and a nephew were quarantined at a Catholic Church camp in Oak Cliff, but they are still living there while they look for new housing.

Pastors at Troh's church, Wilshire Baptist Church in Dallas, have been trying to help her rent a home.

“We’re hopeful today. Things are looking better,” said the Rev. Mark Wingfield, associate pastor at Wilshire Baptist. “The last few days we’ve ended the day very disappointed in the way things have gone.”

Troh and her family left their unit at The Ivy Apartments in the Dallas Vickery Meadow neighborhood when workers in hazardous materials suits were decontaminating the place.

Family possessions were removed and incinerated as a precaution against spreading the disease.

Thomas Eric Duncan stayed in the apartment before being admitted on Sept. 28 to isolation at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas, where he later died.

“You can imagine your own residence, and you were taken out of it, and everything in it was destroyed and you’ve got to start over again,” Wingfield said.

Experts say Troh and her family pose no threat to anyone, and they have nothing from the old apartment to bring to a new one. Still, that has not satisfied landlords to whom Wingfield has spoken.

“One larger complex in the area we talked to said we just don’t need any publicity out of this, and she’s welcome to fill out an application, but if she does it will not be approved,” Wingfield said.

Non-profit organizations serving other families in the Vickery Meadow neighborhood are facing difficulty operating programs since many volunteers are refusing to work in the area where an Ebola patient was, according to Laura Ward, with the Dallas Foundation.

“They're understaffed. They are short on volunteers. There have just been all kinds of needs that have come up in the community and for the non-profits as the result of something unexpected,” Ward said.

The Dallas Foundation is helping the other organizations return to normal.

“We've been overwhelmed by the number of people who come forward in our community and said, 'How can I help?'” Ward said.

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings is working with Wilshire Baptist on finding a new home for Troh and her family.

“It is challenging,” Rawlings said. “And that’s why we as a community have got to be sure we understand the science and the medicine behind this so she can be welcomed back into a community and pick up her life again.”

The mayor said he is encouraged by the number of possible contacts leaving the watch list with no symptoms.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Wednesday that 66 contacts have now completed a 21-day monitoring period disease-free and 108 are still being monitored. All possible contacts will be released Nov. 7.

“You see me knocking on wood right now, everyday. That’s what I do,” Rawlings said.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Alaska to Launch Non-Stop Flights to Kona]]> Thu, 23 Oct 2014 13:45:25 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/215*120/Alaska+Airlines+sm.jpg

If you're looking for a getaway, Alaska Airlines will soon offer new non-stop flights from San Diego to Kona, Hawaii.

Starting in March 2015, San Diegans can fly to the Big Island on Alaska Airlines in one of three flights leaving Lindbergh Field each week.

The airline has an introductory fare rate of $219 one way for tickets on some flights if purchased by Oct. 28 and used between March 5 and June 6, 2015.

"We're delighted to see Alaska Airlines grow its presence here in San Diego with this new nonstop service to Kona, Hawaii," Thella F. Bowens, President/CEO of the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority said in an Alaska Airlines release.

Alaska already flies nonstop from San Diego to Honolulu, Kahului, Maui and Lihue.

For reservations, visit the airline's website.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Broncos Trample Chargers in Denver]]> Thu, 23 Oct 2014 20:38:21 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/457744034.jpg

The Denver Broncos out gained, out scored and out played the Chargers in a 35-21 win on Thursday Night Football.

It spoiled the celebration for Chargers tight end Antonio Gates, who set the franchise record for receiving yards on a 31-yard catch in the second quarter.

Gates finished with 54 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He passes Lance Alworth's record of 9,584 yards.

Denver topped the Chargers by more than 100 yards, rushing for 139 yards in the win.

Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning threw for 286 yards and three touchdowns, all to receiver Emmanuel Sanders, who nearly gave up a fumble midway through the fourth quarter to let the Bolts back in the game. But Wes Welker fell on the ball and kept their drive alive.

Juwan Thompson added a pair of rushing scores for the Broncos, who improve their division-best record to 6-1. The Chargers drop to 5-3.

They could never get their running game going, gaining just 15 yards on 11 carries before a 17-yard Philip Rivers scramble in the fourth quarter.

The Bolts travel to Miami to play the Dolphins next Sunday at 10 a.m.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Rare Trees Killed in Drought to Be Reused]]> Thu, 23 Oct 2014 16:04:14 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/DSC00635_tree.jpg Employees of San Diego Botanic Garden worked with Bishop's Tree Service to remove the rare trees and prepare them for transport.]]> <![CDATA[Superhero Costume Scuffle]]> Thu, 23 Oct 2014 09:12:34 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/10-23-14_hollywood+blvd+costume+superhero+fight.jpg

A violent encounter between costumed superhero characters ended with Mr. Incredible slamming Batgirl on the sidewalk of Hollywood Boulevard in a fight caught on camera.

It was unclear what set off the altercation Tuesday in front of the TCL Chinese Theatre at Hollywood and Highland, and by the time police showed up no witnesses or victims were on scene.

In the video costumed Chewbacca and Waldo try to hold back Mr. Incredible as he grabs at a woman dressed as Batgirl, eventually throwing her to the ground on the crowded sidewalk. People watching nearby lunge toward the man after the slam, but no further violence appears to take place.

A man dressed as Spiderman said the sidewalk, filled with celebrity impersonators and people dressed as superheroes, is fiercely competitive as the characters collect money for photos with tourists.

“No one has respect for each other out here … it’s do or die,” he said. “Literally, everyone is feeding themselves.”

No arrests have been made. Los Angeles police are investigating the case.

Photo Credit: www.filmon.com]]>
<![CDATA[$57,500 Reward Offered to Find 9-Year-Old Girl's Killer]]> Fri, 24 Oct 2014 00:26:34 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/190*120/10-23-2014-Ximena-Meza-anaheim-girl-shot-3.jpg

A more than $50,000 reward was being offered Thursday to find the killer of a 9-year-old girl who was was playing with her friends in front of her family's Anaheim home when she was fatally shot.

Ximena Meza was struck by at least one round outside the 2300 block of Greenacre Avenue (map) on Wednesday and later died at UC Irvine Medical Center. She would have been 10 next month.

Her father told NBC4 he heard gunfire before his daughter ran back to the residence bleeding from her side.

"She ran in there and she died in my arms. I just held her...I know she is with God right now," father William Meza said. "We don't have any idea about it. They were just playing right there. We just heard the shots -- three shots. She ran inside the apartment. When I grabbed her she was bleeding from the side.

"She was amazing -- awesome daughter. I just love her. She is an angel," Meza said.

No arrests had been reported Thursday. What began as a $5,000 reward for information in her killing reached $57,500 Thursday night with funding from the Anaheim Police Officers Association, the city of Anaheim, and the Orange County Attorney's Association.

Community members packed a recreation center Thursday night to demand justice for Ximena.

"I don't live in the area but this is my community. My son goes to the junior high. My kid goes to the school with the girl who was murdered," one resident said. "It upsets me."

Balloons, stuffed animals and other items were left outside the residence in memory of Ximena, the oldest of three sisters whose family moved to the neighborhood about three months ago. School excellence awards for math, language arts and other achievements also were placed at the site of the shooting.

One of the certificates called the fifth-grade student a "shining star."

"I'm not angry, I just have pain in my heart," grandfather Alonso Ortiz said.

The coroner's office identified the victim Thursday morning, hours after a 12-year-old boy discovered his playmate had been wounded by the gunfire. The two were among several children playing on the sidewalk in front of the apartments next to Brookhurst Park, police said.

"Her eyes were just like all rolled back," Hector Jiminez said.

Police were called to the neighborhood southwest of the 5 Freeway by witnesses who reported the sound of gunfire, said Anaheim Police Lt. Bob Dunn said.

Authorities are attempting to determine whether Ximena was caught in crossfire of a group of boys or men nearby.

"One male exited the white car and fired several rounds in the direction of a group of males," Anaheim Police Chief Raul Quezada said. "Ximena was struck with one of the rounds. Following the shooting, the male re-entered the vehicle and left."

"We have very limited information on any type of suspects. All we know is that there were some males involved. Whether that's more than one or six or more, we don't know," Dunn said.

Neighbors told NBC4 they have witnessed gang activity in a nearby park, but authorities have not confirmed whether the shooting involved gang members.

Anaheim Police believe potential witnesses at the park and apartment buildings nearby may provide them with additional information. Quezada said solving the case was the department's "number one priority."

"Innocent children shouldn't be dying so young," said neighbor Kimberly Rodriguez, who grew up in the neighborhood and left a stuffed animal with a flower at the site of the shooting. "It's just ridiculous.

"I can't imagine what (the family) is going through right now."

Ximena's aunt started a GoFundMe account at GoFundMe.com/g6n68k.

Beverly White contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: Family Photo]]>
<![CDATA[New Trail Will Link Santee to Lakeside]]> Thu, 23 Oct 2014 13:04:37 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/walker+trail+copy.jpg

East County officials broke ground today on a new trail at the Walker Preserve that will link from Santee to Lakeside.

The $2 million project will create a 1.3-mile addition to the 52-mile San Diego River Trail that runs along the San Diego River. It should be done in the next several months.

“There are still some gaps in the trail along the way, but little by little we’re closing those gaps and today is a critical piece where we’re closing a big gap,” County Supervisor Dianne Jacob said.

Jacobs said it will be accessible for walkers, hikers, bikers and horseback riders.

“It not only adds to our quality of life in East County, but it’s critical for our recreation opportunities for people of all ages to enjoy,” Jacob said.

The Walker Preserve is 107 acres of open space with migratory birds, bobcats and coyotes.

<![CDATA[City Heights Residents Protest SDPD After Deadly Shooting]]> Thu, 23 Oct 2014 07:25:50 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Victor-Ortega-protest.jpg

A group of protesters in City Heights joined people in cities all across the country Wednesday as they marched against police brutality.

More than 100 people chanted 'Justice for Victor Ortega' along with 'Hands up. Don’t shoot', a reference to the call for action after the death of Michael Brown.

The Ferguson, Missouri teen was shot and killed by Officer Darren Wilson on Aug. 9.

In City Heights, protesters marched for Victor Ortega, a 31-year-old father and husband who was shot and killed by a San Diego Police Officer in June 2012.

“It’s been hard,” said Ortega's widow Shakina. “I can't see my best friend , my husband anymore.
My kids don’t have a father anymore.”

Shakina was among the group of people rallying through the streets of City Heights calling for an end to what she calls police injustice that she says her husband and others have suffered

“You can't trust police," exclaimed Cathy Mendonça of United Against Police Terror. As the rally’s organizer, she urged residents to keep watch over their own communities and hold police accountable.

“ Film them at all times. Encourage everyone it is your right if you're out in public it is your right to film police," Mendonça said.

Ortega was shot during a struggle with an officer who was responding to a domestic violence call at the couple's Mira Mesa home.

Officer Jonathan McCarthy, was attempting to arrest Ortega when a fight began. One of the officer’s guns dropped to the ground according to police spokesperson Lt. Kevin Rooney.

The officer then shot Ortega with a second gun, killing him.

The San Diego County District Attorney's Office reviewed the shooting and found the officer's actions were justified. No charges were filed.

“Why is he still working and my husband is not here with his kids? “ questioned Ortega’s widow. “For what? That I can’t get over that and that’s why I’m going to be fighting.”

An SDPD spokesperson released a statement saying the department stands behind the people’s right to rally peacefully.

<![CDATA[Man Accused of Trying to Set Fire to Vista Apartment Complex]]> Thu, 23 Oct 2014 06:51:46 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Vista-Arson-Suspect-10232.jpg

A man tried to set fire to a Vista apartment complex roof and then hid in a shed at a nearby church, officials said Thursday.

Firefighters rushed to the Mesa Garden Apartment Homes on East Bobier Drive near East Vista Way just after 11 p.m. Wednesday.

When they arrived, they found large tree branches on fire atop Building M.

Firefighters fought the fire from the rooftop as well as from inside the unit. Residents inside the apartment had to be evacuated while crews worked to fight that fire.

The apartment building had some charring on the rooftop, officials said.

San Diego County Sheriff’s Deputies set up a perimeter and began searching for the person who set the fire.

Moments later, deputies found a man hiding in a shed at a nearby church.

Juan Bojorquez was arrested for arson and being under the influence of a controlled substance, officials said.

Officials say it’s not clear if the suspect has any connection to the apartments or the residents there.

Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[Will Smartphones Replace Credit Cards?]]> Wed, 22 Oct 2014 18:50:25 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/AP159460407870%282%29.jpg The week, Apple Pay launched around the country. The program allows users to scan their smartphone instead of pulling out their wallet and credit card. Is this just a novelty, or will it revolutionize the check-out process? Here’s NBC 7’s Consumer Bob.

Photo Credit: Invision for Disney Store]]>
<![CDATA[Zahau Lawsuit Alleging Murder Is "Baseless": Attorney]]> Wed, 22 Oct 2014 19:38:38 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/WEB_ZAHAU_PRESS_CONFERENCE_050813_722x406_29468739851.jpg

Attorneys for a woman accused of killing Rebecca Zahau call a lawsuit against her “baseless and senseless.”

Dina Shacknai’s lawyers released a statement Wednesday to refute the wrongful death lawsuit filed by the Zahau family.

The suit gives the family’s account of what happened on July 13, 2011, when Zahau’s nude body was found hanging from the historic Spreckels Mansion in Coronado.

While sheriff’s investigators found Zahau killed herself over the death of her boyfriend Jonah Shacknai’s son, Max, her parents allege she was murdered by Jonah’s relatives.

The $10 million lawsuit claims Adam and Dina Shacknai — Jonah’s brother and ex-wife — and Dina’s twin sister Nina Romano “actively participated in the planning, implementation, execution and subsequent concealment of the scheme to murder (Zahau).”

One week ago, a judge denied the defendants’ motion to dismiss the wrongful death complaint, allowing it to move forward.

“The court's ruling is not a statement as to whether or not the allegations are truthful, or proper, or even have any basis in fact,” said Kim Schumann, attorney for Dina Shacknai, in a release. “The complaint only contains allegations, and no evidence has been presented to the court to support these allegations.”

According to Schumann, the beginning phase of litigation allows plaintiffs to “allege almost whatever they want.”

The amended complaint accepted by the judge on Oct. 15 is the fourth incarnation of the lawsuit. Other versions were rejected because they were not specific enough in their allegations.

The latest lawsuit accuses Dina of striking Zahau in the back of the head four times with a blunt object as she and Nina confronted the alleged victim about Max’s death.

Once Zahau was unconscious, Adam, Dina and Romano had to plan what to do next, the lawsuit says.

The plaintiffs say Adam carried Zahau’s body into the house, where the trio stripped off her clothing, gagged her and tied her up with tape.

According to the lawsuit, Adam allegedly bound Zahau with a rope and choked her to death, later throwing her body over the edge of an adjacent balcony while “either Dina or Nina was sitting on the bed to which the rope was secured,” the court document states.

Zahau’s family accuses Dina of instructing Adam to paint the cryptic message “SHE SAVED HIM. CAN YOU SAVE HER” on the door outside.

Keith Greer, the Zahaus’ attorney, claims Dina thought Zahau was involved in her son’s death and that she stole her husband – the motives for killing her.

“The general public needs to be aware that the court did not determine or substantiate the accuracy of these allegations in making its ruling,” said Dina’s attorney Schumann in a statement. “The Plaintiffs obviously wish to portray their allegations in a light that will support their claims for recovery of money.”

She says when the facts come to light, Dina and Romano will be vindicated in Zahau’s death.

“Let me be perfectly clear. This is a baseless and senseless lawsuit,” said Schumann.

The attorneys say Dina’s reputation has been irreparably damaged by the allegations.

“We intend to swiftly and aggressively put an end to this matter by every legal means necessary, and will be taking appropriate steps to remedy Ms. Shacknai’s reputational damages and the harm done to the judicial process,” Schumann said.

Greer told NBC 7 depositions started this week. He expects the case will not be settled but will instead go to trial.

<![CDATA[Surfer Remembered as Kind, Generous Role Model ]]> Wed, 22 Oct 2014 21:27:00 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/la+jolla+surf+stephen+fujii.JPG

The surfing community is mourning the loss of a local father and husband described as a generous role model to many.

A relative of Stephen Fujii, 67, say he spent his last moments on earth doing one of the things he loved most: surfing.

He was found unresponsive Wednesday morning, lying by his surfboard stuck in the sand of La Jolla.

Lifeguards tried to perform CPR but could not revive him. An autopsy, scheduled for Thursday, should give insight as to his cause of death.

Fujii’s relative Kevin Nakada told NBC 7 the Clairemont man was a true waterman, participating in everything from surfing to fishing.

A familiar sight at local beaches, he garnered the nickname “Seal Bite” because he was nipped by a seal a few years back.

“He was a great person, and he was much more than what an uncle or cousin would be,” Nakada said. “He taught me a lot of things. He was a great family man.”

Fujii leaves behind a wife, son and daughter.

Nakada decided to talk with NBC 7 because he and his family wanted to remember Fujii, a retired Navy employee, in the best way and to never forget the great person he was — the kind who leaves an impression on you very quickly.

Echoing that sentiment, young surfer Ethan Schauer said he has looked up to Fujii as a mentor for about four years now.

"He was very generous. He showed me how to be like, a good man. Never got super angry at anyone. He had good style,” said Schauer.

Friend Bruce Herridge told NBC 7 a Torrey Pine planted by Fujii 15 years ago stands as a living memorial to him in La Jolla. He hopes to install a plaque in front of it in his friend’s honor.

"He was a role model for many people,” said Herridge. “Just a really nice guy, always had a smile on his face and a gleam in his eye, always positive. He was a good surfer, and he's going to be missed by all of us."

The family said they are planning a paddle-out to memorialize Fujii, but the date has not been determined.

<![CDATA[Questions Raised About UT's "Slippery" Editorial]]> Wed, 22 Oct 2014 18:58:58 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Carl-DeMaio-1017_1.jpg

Controversial and highly disputed emails provided to NBC 7 Investigates include statements from Congressional candidate Carl DeMaio where he appears to be bragging about his campaign writing a UT San Diego editorial that was highly critical of DeMaio’s opponent and had a “UT San Diego editorial board” byline.

Former DeMaio staffer Todd Bosnich said he and campaign spokesman Dave McCulloch were the authors of an editorial entitled “Scott Peters and the Mount Soledad Shuffle.”

Bosnich accused DeMaio of improper sexual conduct in an interview with CNN on October 10. The DeMaio campaign says Bosnich was fired for plagiarism.

Bosnich now tells NBC 7 Investigates that he and McCulloch were the actual authors of a December 2013 editorial, which blamed Peters for San Diego's pension crisis and questioned the sincerity of Peters’ support for the veterans’ memorial on Mount Soledad.

“I worked with Dave on it,” Bosnich said. “So it was, basically, the two of us who wrote it.”

The December 2013 editorial says that “The newly renewed debate over the Mount Soledad Veterans Memorial — and how Rep. Scott Peters, D-San Diego, actually feels about it — isn’t just a tiff over trivia. Instead, it’s a revealing reminder that Peters has a history of being both slippery and insubstantive.”

UT San Diego Editor-in-Chief and Vice-President Jeff Light told NBC 7 Investigates that the editorial was written by a UT San Diego editorial writer and no one else.

“My only on the record comment would be that this story is absolutely, categorically false, and NBC knew that before broadcasting it,” Light said.

The emails provided to NBC 7 indicate that after the editorial ran, McCulloch reached out to a consultant, other campaign staff and the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) boasting that “UT San Diego scorched Peters over the Soledad Cross today, saying ‘Peters has a history of being both slippery and insubstantive’ and that ‘rewriting his own history and ducking responsibility for his actions have always come easy to Scott Peters.’"

In response, Alleigh Marree of the NRCC said: “This is great. Will be able to use these lines A LOT.”

In the email thread provided to NBC 7 Investigates, DeMaio wrote back, “Well, we did wrote (sic) it ourselves.”

William Osborne, editorial/opinion director of UT San Diego, told NBC 7 Investigates that UT San Diego editorial writer Chris Reed wrote the editorial. According to Osborne, the DeMaio campaign claimed the email thread had been fabricated.

“If that email is authentic, I cannot explain it and won’t speculate,” Osborne said. “I can only tell you that Carl DeMaio personally denied to me that he wrote it and said it (the email) was a ‘fabrication.’”

Bosnich said the email thread was not altered in any way, adding that the editorial appeared almost “exactly word for word” as he and McCulloch wrote it.

NBC 7 Investigates provided the email thread with the metadata, information that describes content and context of data files, to a cyber-security expert for review. Stephen Cobb, a senior security researcher at ESET, said the metadata and emails looked genuine.

NBC 7 Investigates watched Bosnich pull up the email from his Gmail server, which the cyber-security expert said would leave zero doubt about the validity of the contents of the emails.

Bosnich also allowed NBC 7 to go through the emails in his Gmail account to show nothing was forged or altered on the thread in question or in other campaign emails in the news.

In response to questions for this article, McCulloch declined to comment.

“We had an extremely cozy relationship with the UT San Diego that always struck me as something that was frankly unethical,” Bosnich said, adding that Reed regularly stopped by DeMaio campaign headquarters, “just to say a friendly ‘hi.’"

After the original version of this story posted, Reed tweeted: "Claim that I "regularly stopped" by DeMaio headquarters 100 percent false." He added in the tweet: "Never there once. And I wrote that edit."

“There’s nothing new about a partisan newspaper, but the length the UT would go always shocked me,” Bosnich said.

By contrast, Peters’ campaign aides said that starting in June 2013 the UT San Diego editorial board would not accept any op-ed articles from their campaign because the newspaper already considered Peters a candidate for re-election.

Peters’ campaign manager provided NBC 7 Investigates with a copy of an August 2014 email thread that discussed an op-ed submitted for consideration by Ed Lorenzen, a Peters supporter.

“Thanks, Ed, but we will not be able to use it,” Osborne replied to Lorenzen. “We have a policy of not using unsolicited op-eds supporting one candidate or another this close to an election.”

The “slippery” line from the anti-Peters editorial was later used in a television campaign ad against Peters, who appears in the ad as a cartoon character driving a convertible BMW with an announcer saying: "Why did the press call Congressman Scott Peters 'slippery?'"

McCulloch did not provide to NBC 7 Investigates any emails or documents that back up his position that the emails provided by Bosnich had been altered, falsified or fabricated.

Osborne also did not provide copies of edited versions of the editorial or internal discussions that would indicate Reed wrote the piece.

But before this piece published, Light created a website with links to a UT San Diego news article, the editorial in question and an email from McCulloch. The website included a full statement from Light about Bosnich’s claim:

“The claim that DeMaio's operatives were the secret authors of an editorial about Scott Peters' record on the Mt. Soledad issue is false. The editorial was written by Chris Reed, whose distinctive style is evident throughout the piece. Reed was responding in part to an email from DeMaio campaign spokesman Dave McCullouch. The editorial argues the same points raised in McCullouch's email, but there is no ethical (sic) breech there. The editorial board is lobbied daily by partisans of all stripes. As a matter of course, the editorial writers promote the arguments they agree with and attempt to refute the rest. Our writers do their own writing and their own research. Anyone familiar with Chris Reed's formidable intellect and scrupulous character would be struck by how utterly preposterous this claim is. There was nothing untoward about the process on the Soledad editorial. The claim that it was authored by DeMaio's team is bogus.”

Ed. Note: We updated this article to clarify William Osborne's response to the DeMaio email thread and to include Chris Reed's response that he has never been to DeMaio's HQ.

Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[Medical Records Stolen: Police]]> Thu, 23 Oct 2014 17:09:20 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/doctor-health-generic-1200-021.jpg

Medical records pertaining to about 40,000 patients over nearly two decades were stolen from a doctor's office in New Jersey earlier this week, authorities say.

Police say Nisar Quraishi, a general practitioner with more than 40 years of experience and offices in Jersey City and Manhattan, reported Tuesday that someone had cut through latches on a storage locker at his Jersey City office on Chopin Court and stolen the documents.

Quraishi told police a resident in the neighborhood called him to tell him the shed door was open, and when Quraishi went to check it out, he found all of his medical records from 1982-2009 were missing.

The stolen boxes had personal information, including social security numbers and home addresses, of about 40,000 patients he had treated and may still be treating, he told police.

Quraishi, who is also a clinical assistant professor at NYU Langone , told police he hadn't been to the storage shed since mid-August, at which point it was still locked. He said he had "no idea" who may have broken in, and he couldn't say whose information was stolen.

Police said there were no security cameras in the area.  

<![CDATA[SoCal Doctor Stored $2M in Diet Pills, Narcotics: DA]]> Thu, 23 Oct 2014 08:50:29 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/212*120/10-22-14_Redondo+Beach+Gerard+Geoffrey+Goryl.JPG

A Southern California neurologist was arrested for the third time on Tuesday after the DEA and police say they found $2 million worth of powerful diet pills and narcotics in a Long Beach storage locker, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's office.

Dr. Gerard Geoffrey Goryl, 59, who works in Redondo Beach, has also been charged in two other drug cases, officials said.

Goryl was first arrested in May and charged in June after allegedly selling powerful narcotics out of his Redondo Beach clinic, A Better Weigh, to undercover police, prosecutors said.

He was arrested again in August after police said he continued to sell the drugs despite a court order forbidding him to do so.

Investigators later discovered 500,000 diet pills and powerful narcotics, including hydrocodone, in a storage facility, and arrested Goryl on Tuesday, officials said.

The most recent charges against Goryl include 10 counts of possession for sale of a controlled substance, alleging that he did so while out on bail, and eight counts of possession of narcotics with a restricted license.

Goryl is due in court Oct. 29 and Nov. 17. If convicted in all three cases, he faces up to 36 years and eight months behind bars. Because of his pending complaints, Goryl is barred from possessing narcotics.

Phone calls by NBC4 to Goryl's attorney were not returned by time of publication.

<![CDATA[JetBlue Unveils New First Class Experience]]> Thu, 23 Oct 2014 08:31:30 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/1022-2014-JetBlueMint.jpg

Airline seats that fully recline and seasonal wine selections? It's a first class experience and it's taking off in the Bay Area.

"JetBlue is proud to launch MINT, which we believe will redefine the premium market in our transcontinental flights,” said Joanna Geraghty, JetBlue Executive Vice President of Customer Experience.

JetBlue showed off its new MINT service at a media event in San Francisco Wednesday.

Passengers will experience roomy seats, a 15-inch TV screen with headphones, Wi-Fi, plush pillows, a privacy door on some seats, and fully reclined seats.

"It's a fantastic lie flat product so it truly reclines all the way,” Geraghty said.

The service will be available on JetBlue flights between SFO and New York’s JFK airport starting in January. Passengers will be served food from New York's Saxon + Parole.

"With what we believe is unparalleled food onboard so not your typical airline food,” Geraghty said.

For the SFO to JFK flights, the food can be paired with California wine. The selection was handpicked by San Francisco Chronicle Wine Editor Jon Bonné.

"We'll have seasonal selections, and we have some fun stuff planned for spring and summer that I don't think anyone's ever seen on board before,” Bonné said.

On the new planes that offer MINT coach passengers will also have roomier seats, a 10-inch TV, and a cup holder.

Tickets for one of the 16 seats on a flight with the MINT service will start at $599.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Doc Accused of Taking Nude Pics of Patients]]> Wed, 22 Oct 2014 18:47:43 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Volunteers-in-Medicine-1021.jpg

An El Cajon doctor is accused of having more than a thousand images of naked female patients on his work cellphone, according to court documents in a lawsuit filed by a former patient.

The plaintiff in the San Diego lawsuit claims she was seen by Dr. Jeffrey Abrams on January 4 at the Volunteers in Medicine Free Medical Clinic on East Madison Avenue.

The uninsured woman, who went to the free clinic with belly button pain, claims Abrams told her take off all her clothes then inserted his gloved finger into her vagina and asked "You have pain?"

Then, she claims he had her stand in front of him, pushed her hair away from her exposed breasts, pulled out a cellphone and took five pictures of her.

Attorney Jessica Pride says her client reported the incident to authorities because she didn’t want any other patient to go through the same experience. A subsequent search of his clinic uncovered more that 1,300 additional photos on his work cellphone, according to court documents.

“We were both surprised to hear that she was not the only one,” Pride said.

Many of the 1,300 explicit photos showed women’s vaginas, breasts and buttocks, documents alleged.

There was one explicit photo of a very young girl and video of a patient touching herself in the exam room with Abrams, the documents allege.

NBC 7 has attempted to reach Abrams for comment but has not received a response.

When NBC 7 called to see if the San Diego County District Attorney's Office was investigating potential criminal charges, a spokesperson for the DA declined to comment on pending investigations.

Maureen Hartin, CEO of Volunteers in Medicine, issued a statement Wednesday calling the allegations “very troubling.”

Hartin said one of the center's volunteer medical providers has been put on an immediate leave of absence while the California Medical Board investigates.

She added that the allegations “certainly are not a reflection” on the staff at the health care facility, the only free medical clinic in the East County.

The nonprofit center cared for 3,000 patients last year, providing them with medical visits, imaging and lab tests according to the organization’s statement.

Abrams is currently licensed to practice medicine in the state of California and is an Internal Medicine and Endocrinology specialist.

According to the Department of Consumer Affairs, Abrams has held a medical license since 1974 and has no disciplinary actions or malpractice judgments filed with the state.

<![CDATA[Trooper Killer Suspect Mistaken ID]]> Thu, 23 Oct 2014 11:53:12 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/206*120/james+tully+eric+frein+lookalike.JPG

A northeastern Pennsylvania resident said he's been stopped and questioned more than 20 times by authorities who have mistaken him for a man sought in the killing of a state trooper, including one encounter at gunpoint that left him fearing for his life.

James Tully, 39, of Canadensis, said he wears his ID prominently around his neck as he walks to work each day through the wooded area where authorities are looking for Eric Frein. Nevertheless, he said he was once stopped about seven times in a single day.

"I'm worried about what is going to happen with the next one," Tully told the Pocono Record. "Is he going to shoot first and ask questions later?"

Trooper Tom Kelly, a state police spokesman, said Thursday the agency will investigate any formal complaint about alleged mistreatment. No such complaint has been filed, Kelly said.

Police have been searching for Frein in the woods around Canadensis since an ambush outside their barracks Sept. 12 left one state trooper dead and another seriously wounded. Authorities describe Frein, who grew up in the area, as a self-taught survivalist and expert marksman who hates law enforcement.

Not many people travel by foot in the rural region, which is filled with winding two-lane roads. Tully, a father of two, said he walks five miles each way to his job at a metal manufacturing company because he doesn't own a car. He carries a backpack, which police believe Frein has also done.

On Oct. 17, Tully said he was walking home when a driver in tactical gear pulled over, pointed a rifle at him and forced him down on the ground, putting a knee in his back. Tully said the man never identified himself, but let him go after another officer appeared and vouched for Tully.

"This guy apparently had delusions of grandeur that he would be the one to catch Frein," said Tully's father, Bob Tully. "We completely commiserate with the police, but this guy went full commando on my son."

James Tully said he went to the hospital and was diagnosed with bruised ribs. He now wears a reflective vest that he hopes will help identify him as someone not trying to hide from police.

"The one they're hunting for, he's not going to stand out. He's going to try and blend in," Tully told WNEP-TV. "I want to stand out so I can let them know ... I'm not the one they're looking for. Just let me go on my way."

A woman created a GoFundMe crowdfunding account to buy Tully a car and had raised more than $7,800 by Thursday afternoon.

<![CDATA[Texas Hearing on Ebola Preparedness]]> Thu, 23 Oct 2014 11:13:58 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/ebola-task-force-hearing.jpg

The newly-formed Texas Task Force on Infectious Disease Preparedness and Response held its first public hearing in the State Capitol.

At the 9 a.m. hearing, task force members focused on medical and public health preparedness for the initial identification and isolation of patients with Ebola or similar high-consequence infectious diseases, officials said.

Officials said that Thomas Eric Duncan could have walked into any hospital, so all hospitals must be prepared to handle an Ebola patient.

Task Force members heard invited testimony from witnesses representing professions and institutions involved in infectious disease identification and response. The main issues they discussed were internal communication, enhanced diagnostic screening and training for medical staff.

Speakers thanksed nurses Nina Pham and Amber Vinson, who tested positive for Ebola after treating Duncan. Texas Department of Health Services Dr. David Lakey, in particular, said it takes genuine bravery to care for someone with Ebola.

Texas Governor Rick Perry created the 15-member task force comprised of experts in infectious disease and public health, biodefense leaders and other state agency professionals Oct. 6. The group is charged with development of recommendations and a comprehensive state plan to ensure that Texas is prepared for the potential of emerging infectious diseases, such as the Ebola virus, and can provide the rapid response needed to effectively protect the safety and well-being of citizens.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Burglary Unveils Marijuana Grow in Imperial Beach]]> Wed, 22 Oct 2014 20:08:30 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/marijuana+raid+imperial+beach.jpg

A burglary at an Imperial Beach business led deputies to discover what they call an illegal marijuana dispensary Wednesday morning.

 A neighbor called 911 to report four masked people breaking into the back door of Ideal Choice Insurance on Palm Avenue.

The suspects ransacked the business and took off with unknown amounts of marijuana and possibly cash, according to a San Diego County Sheriff’s sergeant.

But when deputies began investigating the break-in, their attention quickly turned to the business’ owner, Marcus Boyd, when they served two search warrants to the building and found about 40 marijuana plants in a room above the insurance company.

Five protestors soon arrived outside insurance company to condemn the raid, arguing that it was a collective cultivation of medical marijuana, legal under state law.

Boyd showed investigators his state medical marijuana card to validate the grow, according to Heidi Whitman, a medical marijuana patient advocate with the Americans for Safe Access.

“This is an extreme waste of taxpayer's dollars,” said Whitman. “This is taxpayer's dollars right here in action. They're investigating a legal medical marijuana patient. This is state legal.”

However, the sheriff’s sergeant says Imperial Beach has issued a moratorium on enforcing the state’s law, and marijuana is still illegal under federal law. Therefore, they are required to look into the cultivation.

Now, sheriff’s officials are collecting evidence and investigating if Boyd should face possession for sales and cultivation of marijuana charges.

Photo Credit: Liberty Zabala
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<![CDATA[Pricey Gold Coin Donated to Kids' NewsDay]]> Wed, 22 Oct 2014 15:50:55 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/NewsDayCoin.jpg

Each year, an anonymous San Diego man with a heart of gold makes a unique donation to Kids' NewsDay.

This year was no exception.

On Tuesday, the generous donor appeared and handed NBC 7’s Whitney Southwick a 2009 Eagle $50 gold coin.

San Diego Coin and Bullion owner Chad Martin examined the 1 ounce gold coin and appraised it at $1,265. Martin then gave a donation for the same amount.

For the past 25 years on Kids' NewsDay, thousands of volunteers have sold special edition UT newspapers to raise money for Rady Children’s Hospital.

As of 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, the hospital had collected more than $107,000 and was still counting donations. The team at NBC 7, which is a partner of the event, raised $2,985 alone.

In 2013, the anonymous coin collector donated a rare 1925 Saint-Gaudens gold coin valued at $1,700.

Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[Surfer Collapses and Dies in La Jolla]]> Wed, 22 Oct 2014 16:38:40 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/stephen+fujii+.jpg

A surfer collapsed on the sand and died at a La Jolla beach Wednesday, lifeguards confirmed.

Friends told NBC 7 the victim was well-known in the local surfing community and had surfed in the area for many years.

The man, identified by his family as Stephen Fujii, went out surfing with a friend near Calumet Park at approximately 7 a.m.

Initially lifeguards said the victim's friend looked over and noticed the surfer face down in the water.

However, lifeguards later corrected that information saying the Fujii's board was standing up on the beach and he was found collapsed on the sand.

When his friends went to check on him, he was unconscious, officials said.

CPR was initiated but Fujii was pronounced dead at the scene.

One teenager said the victim was a mentor to him. Ethan Schauer described Fujii as "super nice and laid back." 

"He had a really relaxed style," Schauer said.

Check back for updates on this developing story. 

Photo Credit: Facebook]]>
<![CDATA[Famed Painting Mystery Swirls Around NYC Restaurant]]> Thu, 23 Oct 2014 12:02:17 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/nighthawk+diner.jpg

Artist Edward Hopper's famous "Nighthawks" painting has had admirers speculating for years whether the diner depicted was inspired by a real-life eatery, and one Greenwich Village restaurant owner is convinced he knows the answer.

Fiko Uslu, owner of the newly opened Classic's Cafe at Greenwich and Christopher streets, says he's so sure the space was the setting for the classic 1942 painting that he wants to rename the restaurant Nighthawks.

"We did a lot of research, a lot of legal paperwork," he said. "I don't want to get anything wrong."

The painting shows an all-night diner in which three customers are seated, lost in their own thoughts, under an "eerie glow," according to a description on the Art Institute of Chicago website.

Classic's Cafe manager, Alex Vigro, said they never thought about a connection until a mystery man named Mark stopped by last week and pointed out some similarities.

"These windows right there, the view in front of us, they still remain the same," he said. "The corner, I think everything, the design, everything is really similar."

It's not the only location that has been suggested as the inspiration for Hopper's painting, which hangs in the Art Institute of Chicago. A building housing what is now a flower shop is one of at least three Greenwich Avenue locations frequently discussed, and it's not lost on local residents.

"Certainly the shape of this building with the windows, and the way it comes to a peak, potentially," said Cynthia Kueppers.

Blogger Jeremiah Moss has chronicled his journey to find the real-life Nighthawks diner, writing in a 2010 New York Times op-ed piece that city folklore has suggested that Mulry Square -- a triangular lot at Greenwich Avenue and Seventh Avenue South -- was the site of the diner. His research found that it couldn't be the case because a gas station stood there from the 1930s to the 1970s.

Hopper himself has said the painting was inspired by a "restaurant on Greenwich Avenue where two streets meet," according to the Art Institute of Chicago, but never got more specific than that.

Carter Foster, the curator of drawing for the Whitney Museum, which has 2,500 drawings donated by the artist's widow, making it one of the largest Hopper collections anywhere, said the painting was probably influenced by multiple locations on the avenue.

"There were three corners on Greenwich Avenue, not Greenwich Street, where Hopper walked by frequently that were roughly the same shape as the diner in 'Nighthawks,' and I think those were the inspiration in a very general way, as was the tip of the Flatiron building," said Foster.

The artist with the answers died in 1967, leaving behind his painting and the speculation that goes along with it.

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<![CDATA[Motorcyclist Strikes Car, Dies in Vista]]> Wed, 22 Oct 2014 21:57:40 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/fatal+motorcycle+crash+in+vista.JPG

A motorcyclist has died after colliding with a vehicle in Vista Monday evening, according to the California Highway Patrol.

CHP officer Jim Bettencourt said the accident started at 6:15 p.m. when a 34-year-old man in a 2003 Ford Taurus pulled up to a stop sign at Huchinson Street, waiting to make a left turn onto E. Vista Way.

As he pulled out, he did not see a motorcyclist heading south and drove into his path, Bettencourt said. The motorcycle struck the driver's side of his car and threw the rider to the street.

The 49-year-old male motorcyclist from Vista died at the scene.

The Taurus driver had to be cut out of the car by firefighters, and he was taken to Palomar Hospital for major injuries to his legs.

"This is just a reminder that when you're out here on the road and you're at an intersection or you're pulling out of somewhere into traffic, to make sure that you look twice, look more than once," said Bettencourt.

The cause of the crash has not been determined, but Bettencourt says he believes the driver just did not see the motorcyclist as he pulled out.